and received a 2017 Super Librarian Award
At my school we planned and launched the program at an assembly at the end of the school year which was hosted by the Student Council. One third grader shared with us some of her writing, why it was important to her and the story behind it. Next, members of the Public Library staff came to explain what Summer Reading looked like.
They shared with us how to "sign up" for Summer Reading.
Following the assembly classes met with their "buddy classes" to write and share about their reading. Students were prompted to write or discuss three items:
- What was your favorite book you read this year? Why?
- What book would you like to read this summer?
- Where will you read this summer?
Students took home a bag that included a Summer Reading packet, encouraging parents to carve out time in their days and ways to include reading.
This fall I decided to start our year picking up where we left off - connecting with the Public Library. I began our first class of the year with a demonstration of MY summer reading. It served two purposes:
- Share my reading life
- Excite students about the new books that are on order for our library
I began by taking a poll to see how many students visited a library over the summer. Roughly 40% of students reported they visited a library. Ouch. That's it? I asked how many students participated in Summer Reading. If a hand went up in the class (and there were classes where there were NONE), I could count them on one hand. Gulp.
However.... I had glimmers of hope when students DID raise their hands and excitedly share with me how they earned the pins on their lanyard.
The most beautiful moment of the week was when a child's teacher sent him back to class to "get something" and he came back proudly wearing his lanyard. Later I traveled to the classroom to find this beautiful display of reading pride:
When all categories were viewed I asked students to raise their hands if they saw a book that might interest them. Most hands flew into the air and eager, "when will they be here" questions arose.
After choosing books, students had an opportunity to share what kind of books they would like to read this year:
We began class by playing Human Bingo. I created a bingo board with the reading categories and supplemented with several fun categories like "I read in my pajamas" and "I read something that wasn't a book." Students had to find someone in the class that read or had the related experience and write their name on their board. The goal was to fill as many boxes as possible and to accrue as many "bingos" as possible.
- Science Fiction
- Reading something that wasn't a book
- I went to the library
- I read with someone else (5th grade response)
- Only 40% of students reported visiting a library over the summer. (And that was probably generous because often students respond "yes" because they think that is the correct answer). I would like to see these numbers improve. A dynamic new public library director is making the school/Public Library connection an exciting and viable opportunity for community building. We are now working together and I can't wait to see where this takes us.
- Getting children to the public library is multi-faceted. I can build excitement and inspire them to go, but I have to convince their families that this is a worthwhile venture because my young students need someone to take them there. Developing communication with families is key. This is the year that I venture beyond my monthly newsletter. Facebook - here I come.
- As always, a little excitement building goes a long way. I only wish the books were actually IN the library by the time I introduced them, but they arrived shortly after.
- Working with my colleagues and the Public Library is always an exciting opportunity to grow together. I was thrilled that we were given the freedom to create a "new" Summer Reading program and utilize our resources in our community to do so.